Choosing the Path to Success

When I lived in Houston for several years, as part of my job I traveled the same roads on a weekly schedule to the world’s largest medical center. There were times when I would be talking on the telephone, listening to a radio program, battling the legendary traffic or thinking about an upcoming appointment, that I would unthinkingly be driving on the “hospital roads” when I had a meeting in a very different part of town. As I would ‘awaken’ to my driving, it would be clear that I was on the wrong highway and would wonder how I could have ended up so far from my destination. They were good roads that led to good destinations, but just not where I needed to be at the time.

At the university where I work, students often wonder what their ‘life plan’ is to be.

* Major?
* Career?
* Relationships?
* Location?

Never has there been a time when a student has made decisions that will impact the rest of their lives like those while in college. What if the wrong path is taken? What if they end up in the wrong city, state or even country? What if it is the wrong relationship, job, or. . .

These are some of the same questions and fears that many of God’s people have at any age or station in life.

God has a plan but that does not mean we will always know specifically what every detail will look like. This is a walk of faith but for people of faith we have a great guide. Even with God as our guide, that does not mean that we will know what the end looks like; but we know that the One who leads us does know.

“Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established.”  

Proverbs 4:25-26 NAS

How is it possible to have “established feet”?

To be certain, the choices being made now are going to lead where you want to be in 20 years:

  • Remember, the destination has less to do with a place than a “being.” The person “we become” is of far more importance than “what we do.” Making choices that increase our character will keep more doors of opportunity open than any other choice we make.
  • Key choices can move us in directions that will impact success. Things that can help make those choices to be wise:
  1. Seek wise counsel. There are people in our lives who have insights that could give us direction is dealing with specific choices. They may have career expertise, spiritual insights, and relational perspectives from life experience or professional training.
  2. Examine the choice potential . What are your gifts and aptitudes? Is this something that excites you and that you think about frequently? Is this choice one that has long term potential to add to your life goals?
  3. Most key life choices do not have to be made overnight. Take time to reflect, pray for guidance and if the decision seems strong and right in one moment, it will be strong and right after a period of confirmation.
  4. What would it take for you to succeed if you made this choice? A change of lifestyle [moral/spiritual/physical changes], additional training, a focused commitment or an added discipline?
  5. When the above steps have been taken, then follow the light that has been shed by this process as far as it will take you. The door to this opportunity may close and you would have no choice to make. You may no longer have the confidence you once had and the process may need to be reworked for new insights, OR it may lead to a life-changing possibility.

We do not have the privilege to know the future or that every turn we make will lead us to the desired destination, but we do know that God will honor our heart and our faithfulness.
Sometimes we end in places we did not want to be, but we may have:

* made bad choices
* been too distracted to realize where we were headed was the wrong way
* or we just didn’t know where we were going in the first place.

There are orderly steps that we can take that will help us look directly ahead and establish our ways! Success is finding God’s path and staying on track.

First Place offers support, light and resources for the journey.

Dr. Bill Heston

University Chaplain,
Howard Payne University
Brownwood, Texas

Dr. William Heston was minister of pastoral care at Houston’s First Baptist Church; clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a marriage therapist licensed by the state of Texas. He has also led seminars at First Place Conferences.